SAINT MOTHER THEODORE GUERIN
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.”-Ps 84:11
Psalm 105, Verse 38
Egypt rejoiced when they left, for fear had seized them.
This psalm is a hymn to God who promised the land of Canaan to the holy people. Israel is invited to praise and seek the presence of God, who is faithful to the promise of land to the ancestors. In every phase of the national story—the ancestors in the land of Canaan, Joseph in Egypt, Israel in Egypt, Israel in the desert on the way to Canaan—God remained faithful, reiterating the promise of the land to successive servants.
All of life is a journey to discover the eternal faithfulness of the Lord. When we take this journey we can either choose fear or faith.
A journey is an unshakeable trust in God
“If you lean with all your weight upon Providence, you will find yourselves well supported”When we think about saints we often have this image of a perfect person without the struggles or flaws of an ordinary human being – a person not of this world who spent most of their time praying and worshiping God. We forget that they are people who often had to cope with the same issues that people face today. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin had her ups and downs. Through her own words, which have been published in Journals and Letters of Mother Theodore Guerin, we are able to see the woman behind the saint and why she continues to lead and inspire people worldwide.
· She … and five companion sisters were homeless when they arrived in a dense Indiana forest on a dark October evening in 1840. They lived with a generous local family until a new building was completed.
· She … experienced tragedies in her early life. Two brothers died in fires and her father, a soldier, was murdered by thieves while returning from war. She put her own dreams on hold to care for her family when her mother could not cope emotionally with her father’s death.
· She … and her small band of sisters arrived as immigrants in a new country. They didn’t speak the language and were unfamiliar with the customs. She depended on others to help her learn and adjust.
· She … learned survival skills and endured poverty. She and her companion sisters planted and cared for gardens to supplement their food supply. They helped care for livestock. Their cabin was so cold that their bread froze. Still they endured.
· She … suffered from chronic health problems. Treatment for a disease early in her life caused severe damage to her digestive system. She could eat only broth and soft foods for nearly 30 years. This left her weak and frequently ill.
· She … stood up to injustice. As a woman and a leader in the church, she endured bullying, even excommunication. She met all with grace, determination, strong leadership and compassion. And she didn’t back down. She also addressed social injustices in her day.
· She … was a strong woman leader. Within a year of arriving in Indiana, she established the Academy, now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She inspired women to follow her and founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, a group of vowed women who still today live out her legacy to create a more just and hope-filled world.
· She … experienced prejudice. Many people weren’t accepting of Catholics in the 1840s, especially Catholic women who tried to do business in a “man’s world.”
· She … knew how to turn to prayer to cope with the many challenges that confronted her. She placed complete trust in God for survival, and asked for God’s support in establishing schools throughout Indiana, in leading the young Congregation and in all she did.
· She was a teacher, a founder, a healer, a pioneer. She was a person of deep faith who led others toward God.
· She is a very real woman. She is a role model. She is a saint.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I accept from your hands, whatever kind of death it may please you to send me today (tonight), with all its pains, penalties and sorrows, in reparation for my sins, for the souls in purgatory, for the conversion of sinners, for all those who will die today (tonight), and for your greater glory. Amen.
Pray twice daily. By Father John A. Hardon, SJ
Today is the birthday of my former wife Diane T. Havermale who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in February 2015; She is loved and remembered by her seven children: Claire, Christopher, Candace, Dara, Rachel, Nicole and Vincent. Please pray for her intentions.